Are your printed photos fuzzy?
Are people faces unrecognisable in the blur?
Is InDesign telling you your images aren’t hi-res enough?
Well, you probably need more pixels!
A common issue when putting together print publications is that the images supplied for print use have been prepared for web use. This is a problem because the requirements for print (300dpi) versus web (72dpi) mean that quite often the image supplied doesn’t meet the needs of print. A resolution of 300 dots per inch (dpi) is required once the image has been placed into InDesign or sized for print use. This may sound all ‘designer speak’ so here are some guides for when you next are sourcing an image for your print project.
Paper and pixels
These sizes are based on international standard paper sizes and show the common size code, the size in both millimeters and pixels to allow printing at 300dpi.
A6 – 105 x 148mm
1240 x 1748px
A5 – 148 x 210mm
1748 x 2480px
A4 – 210 x 297mm
2480 x 3508px
A3 – 297 x 420mm
3508 x 4961px
The way to find out the dimensions of your images differs between Mac and PC.
Mac – click on the image file in finder. Then press ‘command+I’ to open the info panel. In the ‘More Info’ section there will be the proportions.
PC – right click on the image file and select properties from the drop down menu. Click ‘Summary’ to show the image dimensions.
Alternatively if you have Adobe Photoshop, InDesign or Bridge you can find the dimensions in the image or link info.
If you are planning on taking photos to use in a publication make sure your camera is set at it’s highest quality and largest file size options to ensure the best outcome. As a guide here is a sample of megapixel vs pixel dimensions from common camera resolutions.
5 megapixels 2592 x 1944px
10 megapixels 3648 x 2736px
15 megapixel 4752 x 3168px
As you can see a 10mp camera creates an image large enough to cover a A4 page if you remember to take the image in the orientation of the page. An 18mp camera would allow you to crop from a landscape image to a portrait page.